Wednesday, October 18

Top Ways to Reduce Your Compressed Air Costs

All businesses are trying to minimize costs to maximize profits and efficiency. Those manufacturing companies utilizing compressed air are no different! Compressed air can use a lot of energy that comes with a cost. Read this article to learn how you can be saving money while utilizing you air compressors.

Fully Turn off Your Compressor When Not in Use

This is the simplest way you can reduce costs associated with operating an air compressor. If you turn your compressor off completely when it is not needed for applications, then there is no risk of idling and wasting energy.

Locate & Fix Leaks

Compressed air leaks mean wasted air and wasted energy that can become a very costly issue. Inspecting your air compressor regularly for leaks can help you catch them early and mitigate the risk of leaks becoming larger or spreading. Zorn Compressor & Equipment also offers Ultrasonic Leak Detections to help you identify hard-to-find leaks and create a gameplan to fix them. You will want to perform preventative leak maintenance regularly to try and prevent your system from reaching the point of leaking. Start by inspecting the piping systems and keeping them clean and dry. You will then inspect your filters, drains, and connections to make sure they are clean, free of debris or corrosion, and installed correctly. You should also drain any moisture out of the system frequently.

Perform Regular Routine Maintenance

Empty/Replace Drains

You should regularly inspect your drains. While automatic timer drains are created to open the drain valve themselves according to a schedule, there are a few issues that can arise if proper care is not taken. First, if the drain needs to open while the compressor is off, it will open and momentarily start up the motor to do so, using excess energy when unnecessary. Sometimes, older timer drains can get stuck in the open position, allowing leaks to sneak out of the open valve. A zero-loss air drain is the best solution to a stuck open valve as it eliminates the risk of air loss and lowers maintenance costs that timer drains bring about.

Replace/Clean Filters

Cleaning and replacing your filters regularly helps decrease the amount of dust and particulate buildup that can wreak havoc on your system. If a filter becomes too heavily contaminated, it can cause contaminants to slip through or your system to become blocked. Depending on the intensity and frequency of your compressor’s use, each filter should be cleaned weekly to monthly.

Replace Other Key Components as Needed.

Replacing old internal parts, as needed, ensures that your compressor can operate efficiently. Old parts that are breaking, corroded, or not operating properly, cause inefficiencies that require your compressor to work harder to compensate for the inefficient part. This wastes energy and can eventually cause your compressor system to have excess wear and tear that could cause shutdowns or other broken parts.

Keep Oil Level Sufficient.

When the oil level decreases to an improper level or becomes contaminated, excess wear and tear occurs within the internal parts of your compressor that causes your compressor to work harder or to shut down and production losses to occur. Keeping an eye on your oil mitigates this risk and saves you money.

Monitor Plant Pressure

Recognize & Locate Pressure Losses/Drops

Pressure losses can happen from leaks, as mentioned above, but they can also be due to blockages in the system or dirty filtration systems. Pressure losses can cause your compressor to operate at higher PSIs to compensate for the pressure loss, increasing your energy bill. So, recognizing these losses and fixing them can save you lots of money.

Lower Pressure when Possible

Reducing pressure levels required for operation can significantly reduce your energy costs. In general, pressure levels are set based on maximum requirements for the highest-pressure jobs. However, we know that you will not be operating at the highest pressure all the time. If a compressor starts delivering more air than is required, the pressure rises unnecessarily, and energy gets wasted. A common example is the utilization of high-pressure tools that only account for a small portion of their compressed air. In these instances, it may be beneficial to operate two compressors, one that can be used for high-pressure situations and one that can run on medium-pressure applications to save energy.

Eliminate Wasteful Air Applications

Sometimes it is convenient for workers to utilize compressed air to complete minor tasks quickly. However, using your compressor for small, minor compressed air spurts can skyrocket your energy costs. A common wasteful application is using blowers to clean off the factory floor or dust various surfaces. These actions can many times be completed manually by workers, rather than wasting compressed air and energy costs.

Assess and Update Piping Setup

Is your piping system as efficient as it could be? Your compressed air should be traveling the shortest distance possible to reach its final destination. Excessive elbows, bends, or length of piping leaves lots of room for pressure losses and thus higher costs. If you keep older piping that is narrower for a smaller compressor but have now upgraded to a larger compressor- it is time to upgrade your piping to a wider pipe as well. In general, to keep costs low when utilizing compressed air piping- keep the pipe as wide and short as possible to maximize efficiency.

Utilize Recovered Heat

Air compressors generate a lot of heat while operating. This heat generated comes from the energy that is used to power your compressor system. While some of this energy produces pressurized air, most of it gets released as excess heat that can be salvaged to save on energy costs for other uses. There are a variety of attachments that can be added to your system to convert this heat to other uses such as producing hot water or warming the environment around the compressor during cold months. Using this leftover heat from your compressor means you are “reusing” energy that has already been exerted on your system, thus saving costs. 

Invest in Properly Sized Compressors with the Right Dryers

Properly sized air compressors are of the utmost importance to your energy consumption and thus costs. Too small of a compressor can cause the compressor to be working too hard and increase your energy bill, ultimately leading to costly failures and shutdowns. Too large a compressor can cause wasted air or energy, also increasing your costs. Many of these compressors will also be paired with air dryers to ensure clean, dry pressurized air is being produced. These dryers should be properly sized and configured so that the air is dried to the proper level. Over-drying can cause energy costs to increase, and under-drying can cause moisture to get into your production and cause potential product loss or contamination which can be a costly mistake.

In Conclusion

It is best to be proactive rather than reactive when dealing with air compressors. Being proactive with maintenance and concerns helps save your compressor’s lifespan and your facility’s costs! Zorn Compressor & Equipment has special Maintenance Agreements that can be uniquely tailored to each system to help prevent any of these costly issues from arising. Of course, if you notice one of these issues happening that you are unsure how to fix yourself, call Zorn right away to have an expert technician perform the repair or consult on best solutions.



Zorn is the Midwest leader of custom, engineered compressed air and vacuum solutions. We provide the best customer experience by understanding your applications and needs and offering an unparalleled commitment to customer satisfaction. 

Our comprehensive product and service solutions keep you running 24/7.

  • Reliable equipment
  • Trusted brands
  • Seamless, easy installation
  • Post-sales support
  • Local, 24/7 service

Our compressed air experts look forward to meeting you to discuss your equipment and support needs. Please contact us directly at (262) 695-7000 with any questions or to schedule service for your system moving forward.

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